Latter-day Saints hold Stake Conference

Libby McSheehy, Special to The Log
Elder Neil L. Anderson (left) and President Mike Roberts took time to shake hands with the children at the Conference.

The Florida Fort Walton Beach Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a very special stake conference on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17 and 18. Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presided over the meetings and addressed the 998 members who attended.

On Saturday there were two meetings held at the Fort Walton Beach Stake Center where Elder Robert W. Hymus. of the Quorum of the Seventy presided. The Sunday meeting was held at the Crestview Community Center to accommodate the large crowd of 998 members from the congregations in Baker, Crestview, De Funiak Springs, Niceville, Destin/Sandestin and Fort Walton Beach.

The meeting on Sunday began with the members sustaining all the Church leaders including the First Presidency of the Church who preside over the daily administrative duties of the Church and all those from the local stake who were called to new positions.

President Mike Roberts conducted the meeting and spoke of the blessings of being raised in the Church with all the teachings and examples of his parents guiding him and his brothers and sisters. Now he said that those traditions and examples are being carried on in his own young and growing family. Tammy Jones, newly called Stake Relief Society President, spoke of the love Heavenly Father has for all of us and the importance of loving and reaching out to others.

Elder Hymus emphasized the importance of teaching children to feel and recognize the Holy Spirit in their lives to guide them through these perilous times. Several in the congregation were called to bear their testimonies. Among them was Bishop Floyd Allen of Fort Walton Beach First Ward who served as a young missionary under Elder Anderson years ago in France; Sister Donna Smith, of the Tallahassee Mission; and David Harris, a member of FWB Second Ward.

Kathy, wife of Apostle Anderson, spoke of her Florida roots and the courage of her great-grandfather who joined the Church in 1898, and the example of tithing set by her mother. Elder Neil Anderson spoke of a mother’s prayers and how influential they are in the raising of righteous children. He urged honesty in marriages and the need to be righteous and truthful and to help to strengthen those around us and to show our love for Christ.

At the close of the meeting Elder Anderson extended a special invitation to the children present to come forward and shake his hand. Even though he had a plane to catch he was there for nearly one half hour shaking hands with those in the congregation.

  Elder Anderson grew up on a farm in Pocatello, Idaho, where he learned the value of hard work. He is quoted as saying, “I spent the first half of my life trying to get off the farm and now I am spending the last half of my life trying to get back to the farm.”

In his Church career he has served as a missionary to France, as Stake President in the Tampa Stake, as Mission President in Bordeaux, France, as First Quorum of the Seventy, as resident of this quorum, and in April Conference of 2009 was called by President Thomas S. Monson to be an Apostle. Members of the Quorum of the Twelve are special witnesses of Jesus Christ and perform administrative duties in the Church. Elder Anderson and his wife Kathy have four children and 16 grandchildren.